32 years and counting.

afghan-reading

It’s 5′ x 7′, that is five by seven feet. Unlike contemporary, machine-made models, which are much shorter and cheaper to produce, there is ample cover to reach the tippy-toes of my 6′ 1″ frame.

It has survived 32 winters.
It has served 6 homes, and is now working its 7th.
It has outlasted 10 automobiles.
And, yet here it is, working, in pristine condition, with a new car smell.

Besides our tableware, which should be replaced, it is the only wedding gift that has survived. She has long since passed, but her afghan lives on.

Is an afghan knitted or crocheted? Are they stitches or loops?  I have no idea.
Eric calculated 38,260 individual loops. 38,260 hand made loops.

It is brown, green, and two shades of blue. Why these colors? The earth? Its plants and forests?  Her hope for a God, for heavens? Why didn’t you ask her when she lived? [Read more…]

Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration

back-bend-ballet


Notes:

5:00 Bell: Let’s Go!

gif-dive-water-slide


Source: srsfunny

Magic

meteor-banff

“While out hunting for the aurora borealis this December, astrophotographer Brett Abernethy captured this incredible meteor fireball streaking across the sky near Johnson Lake in Banff National Park, Canada.”


Source: Brett Abernethy (Calgary, AB, Canada) via Lafen Lernen

 

That’s Right Fred. You tell ‘em.

pigs-trough

I also do not like those who consider everything good and this world the best. Such people I call the omni-satisfied. Omni-satisfaction, which knows how to taste everything, that is not the best taste. I honor the recalcitrant choosy tongues and stomachs, which have learned to say “I” and “yes” and “no.” But to chew and digest everything—that is truly the swine’s manner. Always to bray Yea-Yuh—that only the ass has learned, and whoever is of his spirit.”

- Friedrich Nietzsche, from Thus Spoke Zarathustra


Notes: Quote source – Violent Waves of Emotion. Image Credit

 

T.G.I.F.: It’s Been A Long Week

gif-fox-dive-funny


Source: Stronger Than Yesterday

All About That Bass


Kate is originally from Portland, Oregon, where she received national recognition in high school for bass and singing through the National YoungArts Program. Lauded by MTV as one of 2014’s “15 Fresh Females Who Will Rule Pop,” Kate grew up with an instrument in her arms and a head full of inventive lyrics. Her lifelong training makes for smart, warm pop that’s as musically nuanced as it is addictive. If you put a mid-career Jenny Lewis album in a room with Regina Spektor’s coloring, Joanna Newsom’s lyric poetry, and a dose of Tina Fey’s sharp wit—then added a couple decades of rigorous musical education and a shift dress—Kate Davis might come strolling out.

Read more at Katedavismusic.com. Find her on Facebook at Kate Davis


Rise up

Charles-DAmbrosio

I had just figured out, rather naïvely, that I could buy my own books, and then almost instantly I became a prig about their condition, so much so that I wouldn’t lend them to anyone, at least not without a solemn lecture about their proper handling: no breaking the spines, no dog-earing the pages, no greasy thumbprints. At home, I had my own somewhat wobbly arrangement of brick-and-board shelves, two and then three tiers of ugly pressboard, painted brown and laddered up against the wall, my first piece of furniture. In private, I thought of those shelves with enormous pride, as something I was building, book by book, and brick by brick, and I often looked at them, vaguely satisfied, like a worker inspecting the progress of a job. I wanted the shelves to rise up and reach the ceiling, and for that to happen, all I had to do, I realized, was read.

~ Charles D’Ambrosio, Loitering: New and Collected Essays

and if you appreciated this, check out another passage from his new book below: [Read more…]

You said what? 5º F?

bird


Source: Shoebill from Head Like An Orange

Word, Please

tired-fatigue-woman-portrait

Your body aches.
You can feel yourself sighing all the way to your knees.
Now tell me:
what is the word for that.

— shinji-moon, from A Physician’s Handbook


Notes: Photography:maja via eikadan. Quotes: tohs–kah

 

 

Floating on their backs and saying, Urr.

sea-lion-close-up

I was catching on to sea lions. Walk into the water. Instantly sea lions surround you, even if none has been in sight. To say that they come to play with you is not especially anthropomorphic. Animals play. The bull sea lions are off patrolling their territorial shores; these are the cows and young, which range freely. A five-foot sea lion peers intently into your face, then urges her muzzle gently against your underwater mask and searches your eyes without blinking. Next she rolls upside down and slides along the length of your floating body, rolls again, and casts a long glance back at your eyes. You are, I believe, supposed to follow, and think up something clever in return. You can play games with sea lions in the water using shells or bits of leaf, if you are willing. You can spin on your vertical axis and a sea lion will swim circles around you, keeping her face always six inches from yours, as though she were tethered. You can make a game of touching their back flippers, say, and the sea lions will understand at once; somersaulting conveniently before your clumsy hands, they will give you an excellent field of back flippers. And when you leave the water, they follow. They don’t want you to go. They porpoise to the shore, popping their heads up when they lose you and casting about, then speeding to your side and emitting a choked series of vocal notes. If you won’t relent, they disappear, barking; but if you sit on the beach with so much as a foot in the water, two or three will station with you, floating on their backs and saying, Urr.

~ Annie Dillard, “Life on the Rocks: The Galapagos.” Teaching a Stone to Talk.


Notes:

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-hump-day-caleb-wednesday


Notes:

  1. Source: Thank you Horty.
  2. Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

Driving I-95 S & N. Kooser. In the Head.

moon-iphone
It’s 5:45 am.
It started tracking me yesterday morning.
I’m driving to work. Dark is lifting to dusk.
I’m returning to the office after an extended vacation.
My head is tumbling with To-Do’s.
I round the corner for the last 1/2 mile stretch and there it was.
Full. Bright. Beaming. Silent.
I stare, and enter a few second refuge before pulling into the garage.

It’s 6:40 pm.
I’m done with my first day back, of meetings back to back.
I’m in my re-entry. Decompression? Gone.
I accelerate down the exit ramp and there it is.
Full. Bright. Beaming. Silent.
It’s tracking me the entire ride home up I-95 N.
And gracefully nudging me from exhaustion, to fatigue and softly settling me into calm.

Yes, Mr. Kooser.
I have missed so many. The count is well into the thousands.
But, no Sir. No Sir.
I didn’t miss this one.

[Read more…]

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi would say…go with the Flow.

black-white-breeze-wind-flow

“We say to the confused,

Know thyself,

as if knowing yourself was not the fifth and most difficult of human arithmetical operations,

we say to the apathetic,

Where there’s a will, there’s a way,

as if the brute realities of the world did not amuse themselves each day by turning that phrase on its head,

we say to the indecisive,

Begin at the beginning,

as if beginning were the clearly visible point of a loosely wound thread and all we had to do was to keep pulling until we reached the other end, and as if, between the former and the latter, we had held in our hands a smooth, continuous thread with no knots to untie, no snarls to untangle, a complete impossibility in the life of a skein, or indeed, if we may be permitted one more stock phrase, in the skein of life.”

José Saramago, The Cave


Notes:

And your answer is?

matthew-burke

Lesley Stahl: I know a psychiatrist who says the most important question she asks somebody is, “When you were growing up, who loved you?” Do you have an answer?

Matthew Burke: That’s very difficult to answer– who loved me– because there’s different types of love.

Lesley Stahl: Uncondition. I mean–

Matthew Burke: Yeah, unconditional–

Lesley Stahl: That’s what I mean.

Matthew Burke: I’ve never– I’ve never experienced that.

Lesley Stahl: So you– you have no answer for that question.

Matthew Burke: I have no answer. To this day I have no answer to that.

~ Lesley Stahl, Alive and Kickin’, 60 Minutes


If you missed last night’s episode of 60 Minutes, you can find it here at CBS: Alive and Kickin’.  There are many great human interest stories in this segment but I was particularly moved by Matthew Burke’s story (which comes on at 11 min 45 sec of this video).  He was abandoned two and half weeks after birth in a hallway.  Mother and Father unknown.


Monday Morning Wake-up Call: Back from Vacation. Heading to work.

gif-truck-funny-work


Source: gifak

 

For Now I Am Winter


Ólafur Arnalds, 26, is a multi-instrumentalist and producer from Mosfellsbær, Iceland. Ólafur Arnalds mixes strings and piano with loops and edgy beats crossing-over from ambient/electronic to pop.

This song can be found on iTunes on his album titled For Now I Am Winter – which I acquired several weeks ago and have had playing on a continuous loop. Highly recommended.

For related Olafur Arnalds posts:


Togetherness lost

reading-book-parent-child-son-daughter

Memories are cloudy. It was a ritual that was conducted on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings. It was cold and wet. Cabin Fever had set in. Mom and the Kids needed to get out. Our first stop was Barnes and Noble. Rachel, in her pink galoshes, wandered the aisles in search of the prettiest book covers she could find. She would unzip her down jacket and sit on a Lilliputian bench flipping the pages. Eric would be tugging on his Mom’s coat, impatient, and ready to move on. After negotiating with Rachel that she could only have two, we would head off to lunch, which would include a sandwich or burger, french fries and steamy hot chocolate.

Ah, yes. The good ole’ pre-internet, pre-Amazon days. Who visits book stores today? What book stores carry large inventory? Who’s got time to read to their children? Do children have the patience or interest to sit quietly with a book? The Tech candy is flashing and twitching, coaxing them over. ME. ME. ME. Forget the boring books. Pick ME up.

That evening after we returned from the bookstore, and during weekday evenings that followed, we would read bedtime stories to our children. This parental ritual is beautifully captured by Daniel Pennac below in his reflections:

[Read more…]

Saturday Morning. And, I’ve got Clinomania

gif-sleep-weekend-saturday

gif-sleep-tired-weekend-saturday-1

“(noun) Defined as an overwhelming desire to stay in bed, clinomania is at its peak during chilly, autumn and snowy days, as well as during the peaceful, rainy afternoons of summer. Chances are when clinomania strikes, your only wish is to stay in bed, rest, and catch up on your favorite tv series and go on a Netflix binge! Many of us who experience clinomania usually find it difficult to get up in the mornings. We look forward to the weekends and despise Monday mornings.”

  • etymology: New Latin: clin, Greek:klinei (to lean)+ mania (madness/frenzy)

Notes: Word Definition Source: Words N Quotes. Gif: Violent Waves of Emotion (Le Petit Soidat 1963 Dir Jean-Luc Goddard with Anna Karina)

 

SMWI*: 44 secs w Bolshoi


I was 14 at the time. It was an cool evening in Moscow as we entered the famed Bolshoi Theatre. The performance was Swan Lake.  It was a full house. Other memories? My disinterest. My restlessness. The tall, soft ice cream cones at the intermission. I remember Nothing. I missed Everything.


Notes:

Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum.

friedrich-nietzsche

For the New Year—I still live, I still think; I must still live, for I must still think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum. To-day everyone takes the liberty of expressing his wish and his favorite thought: well, I also mean to tell what I have wished for myself today, and what thought first crossed my mind this year,—a thought which ought to be the basis, the pledge and the sweetening of all my future life! I want more and more to perceive the necessary characters in things as the beautiful:—I shall thus be one of those who beautify things. Amor fati: let that henceforth be my love! I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers. Looking aside, let that be my sole negation! And all in all, to sum up: I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!

Friedrich Nietzsche, January of 1882, Sanctus Januarius in The Gay Science


Credits: Quote Source: Brainpickings. Portrait (modified): izquotes.com

Two Minute Personality Test

Jonathan-Safran-Foer

What’s the kindest thing you almost did? Is your fear of insomnia stronger than your fear of what awoke you? Are bonsai cruel? Do you love what you love, or just the feeling? Your earliest memories: do you look though your young eyes, or look at your young self? Which feels worse: to know that there are people who do more with less talent, or that there are people with more talent? Do you walk on moving walkways? Should it make any difference that you knew it was wrong as you were doing it? Would you trade actual intelligence for the perception of being smarter? Why does it bother you when someone at the next table is having a conversation on a cell phone? How many years of your life would you trade for the greatest month of your life? What would you tell your father, if it were possible? Which is changing faster, your body, or your mind? Is it cruel to tell an old person his prognosis? Are you in any way angry at your phone? When you pass a storefront, do you look at what’s inside, look at your reflection, or neither? Is there anything you would die for if no one could ever know you died for it? If you could be assured that money wouldn’t make you any small bit happier, would you still want more money? What has been irrevocably spoiled for you? If your deepest secret became public, would you be forgiven? Is your best friend your kindest friend? Is it any way cruel to give a dog a name? Is there anything you feel a need to confess? You know it’s a “murder of crows” and a “wake of buzzards” but it’s a what of ravens, again? What is it about death that you’re afraid of? How does it make you feel to know that it’s an “unkindness of ravens”?

Jonathan Safran Foer [Read more…]

T.G.I.F.: Happy New Year!

peanuts-cartoon-funny-happy-new-year-charlie-brown


Source: thesolitudeofprimenumbers

So fill your glass. Here’s tae us.

footprints-in-snow

Remember, the time of year
when the future appears
like a blank sheet of paper
a clean calendar, a new chance.
On thick white snow

you vow fresh footprints
then watch them go
with the wind’s hearty gust.
So fill your glass. Here’s tae us.
Promises
made to be broken, made to last.

Jackie Kay, “Promise”


Notes:

  1. About Jackie Kay: Jackie Kay (b. 1961) is an award-winning writer of fiction, poetry and plays, whose subtle investigation into the complexities of identity have been informed by her own life. Born in Edinburgh to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father, she was adopted as a baby by a white couple. Kay’s awareness of her different heritages inspired her first book of poetry, The Adoption Papers, which dramatises her experience through the creation of three contrasting narrators: an adoptive mother, a birth mother and a daughter.
  2. Photographer: Matt Wyles. Poem Source: litverve
  3. Find this poem in Jackie Kay’s Book: Life Mask or in Poems on the Underground by Judith Chernaik

Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions are venomous things.

Carroll-Jonathan-13

Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions are venomous things. You make them, you break them, you feel lousy, you forget them. But if your bent is masochism and you insist, I recommend reasonable things that are not hard to accomplish: This year I resolve not to drink furniture polish. I resolve to give away all my patent leather. I resolve to pet as many dogs as will permit me.

I once resolved to give up cigarettes but then realized they were one of my oldest friends. As one grows older, we need all the friends we can get so forget that resolution. Likewise drinking. I have never liked to drink so I don’t, but I refused to give it up on numerous occasions for a New Year’s resolution because who knows — one day drinking might come in handy and then where would I be? You have to be careful about these things — life is long and pleasure is short and too often life wins.

If a gun were pointed at my head today and the man in the black cape announced, “Make a resolution or die!” I would grudgingly say, “This year I will try to be kinder, more patient, and as generous as a baby with a cookie.”

The problem with resolutions is we know ourselves pretty well and know if we ain’t doing it now, we probably won’t begin on January 1st. I guess the best thing to do is start in immediately but make no promises to yourself or anyone else. Certainly not out loud. We can make lists and resolutions all day long but the doing is what matters and that can begin any day.

Jonathan Carroll


Jonathan Samuel Carroll, 65, was born in NYC and has lived in Austria since the 1970s. He is an American fiction writer primarily known for novels that may be labelled magic realism,slipstream or contemporary fantasy.

Day 1 of 365: Resolutions

Calvin-Hobbes-New-Year-resolution-funny


Thank you Rudy @ Et in Arcadia Ego*

 

Blog That? Top 20 reflections on 2014.

blog-blogging-funny

Here’s my top 20 blogging reflections on 2014, an update from my 2013 list:

  1. Grateful for: The Community. (Simply the Best.) Friends. Followers, Likes, Comments, Engagement, Banter, Re-blogs. Thank you.
  2. Appreciate: Infrequent notes from silent followers. Always surprising and inspiring.
  3. Take any posts back: No. (But, I do grimace at a few.)
  4. Viral: Yes. One share titled: Gate A-4. 845,000 views. 487 likes. 15 Minutes of Fame can be frightening. Glad to be back to the Man-Cave.
  5. Blogging Challenges: Staying fresh. (Not good enough. This one feels tired. Who cares?)
  6. Secret Sauce for High Quality Content: (1) Read. (2) A silent partner(s). (Thank you.)
  7. Wish I Had More Time for: Reading and writing. (Especially Reading)
  8. Awards: Grateful for the fellow blogger recognition but haven’t been able to pay it forward. (Sorry.)
  9. Who do you call at 3am (when you need blogging help): Todd. Mimi. Lori. BethCarol. Ray. And continuing mention of the bloggers who brought me to the dance: Kurt @ Cultural Offering & Steve @ Anderson Layman’s Blog. (Thank you all.)
  10. Important: Attribution for shares. Regrets? 2012 post without owner’s consent. Apologies extended and post revised.
  11. Best writing aids/apps: For me (amateur): Save your time and money. Skip ‘em.
  12. Best App in Supporting Role: Evernote. For clipping, storing, composing. No close 2nd place finisher.
  13. Most useful Utility Apps: 1password. TextExpander. Snagit. DropBox or iCloud. (sync/backup critical)
  14. Best Reading/Content Apps: Feedly. Pocket. Kindle. Tumblr.
  15. Best blogs to follow: Authentic. Have opinion. High quality writing and/or content. Succinct.
  16. Wish I knew how to: (1) Write well (or better?). (2) Photoshop images. (No time. Limited competency.)
  17. Mac vs. PC: Mac/iPad/iPhone wins hands down. Syncing and stability worth price premium.
  18. Chrome vs. Safari: (for Mac Users)? Toss Up. Safari for integration/syncing. Google for speed and widgets.
  19. Niggling Nuisances: Spam. Self-linking. Haters. (Few) Guest blogger requests unrelated to blog theme.
  20. Why Blog? Why not?

Notes:

  1. Related Posts: (1) 2013: Top 20 Reflections on 2013: A Blogger’s Retrospective. (2) 2012: Two Years and Counting
  2. Image Credits (modified text). Original Source: Miguel Fernandez @ gengen-den-strich.com via Tanya Khovanova’s Math Blog

Yep, about right

robert-downey-jr-new-year


Source: scotchcigarsartdarwin

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Here’s Geico’s 2014 Hump Day commercial in case you missed it…for the last Hump Day of 2014.


Notes: Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

New Year’s Resolutions worth keeping

black and white

15 Phrases That Will Change Your Life In 2015, The Huffington Post, Lindsay Holmes:

“How we speak — to others and to ourselves — has a huge impact on our overall outlook. So isn’t it about time we started paying more attention to what we’re communicating? Below are 15 phrases that will transform the way you think, feel and act in the coming year. Using your words to change your life? Now that’s a resolution worth keeping.”

  1. “Because”
  2. “Can you help me?”
  3. “I”m too busy”
  4. “I don’t”
  5. “No”
  6. “I’m grateful for _______”
  7. “Oh well”
  8. “Let’s Go”
  9. “Just breathe

The entire list and the background explanation on each word/phrase: 15 Phrases That Will Change Your Life In 2015.


Photograph by Bruce Weber of River Phoenix from Live Journal

A road leads into the new year

wedding-dress-running

A little snap at one side of the room
and an answering snap at the other:
Stiff from the cold and idleness,
the old house cracking it knuckles.
Then the great yawn of the furnace.
Even the lampshade is drowsy,
its belly full of a warm yellow light.

Out under the moon, though,
there is at least one wish
against this winter sleep:
A road leads into the new year,
deliberate as a bride
in her sparkling white dress of new snow.

~ Ted Kooser. “December 26. Clear and Cold.” Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison


Photograph: {peace&love♥} at lullabyexile via raspberrytart.tumblr.com

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

puppy-cute-sleep-adorable


Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom

 

Most of what I see is garbage

art-contemporary-photography

I hardly ever go to exhibitions and dislike the world of the vernissage; those crowds are the most repulsive of all. These days most art is too conceptual for me, with long descriptions pasted up on the walls of galleries. “Art” should reveal itself to audiences without written explanation. Most of what I see is garbage, sometimes literally so, like an installation with a few cardboard boxes thrown into a corner, an empty beer can and a dirty sleeping bag. This apparently represents the desperate fate of the homeless. I see an absence of dignity in contemporary art. There is too much emphasis on concept, not craft. Just as religion has been watered down by television evangelists, so has art.

~ Paul Cronin, Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed: Conversations with Paul Cronin


Credits: Photograph by Burt Glinn 1964 NYC. Ad Reinhardt painting at the Museum of Modern Art. Source: Magnum Photos via To Escape from the Commonplaces of Existence.

 

A Small Golden Light

small-light

I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it’s about to end.

And if you’re never going to see someone again, it’ll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, “It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now.”

And maybe if you’re never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it’ll shine and you can order everything off the menu you’ve never tried. Maybe, if someone’s about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you’re with a group of friends who’ll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you’ll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, “This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good.”

~ Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You

Notes: Image: icanpaintarainbow. Quote: Your Eyes Blaze Out

 

It will hush if you give it an egg

egg-over-easy

“It can never be satisfied, the mind, never.” Wallace Stevens wrote that, and in the long run he was right. The mind wants to live forever, or to learn a very good reason why not. The mind wants the world to return its love, or its awareness; the mind wants to know all the world, and all eternity, and God. The mind’s sidekick, however, will settle for two eggs over easy. The dear, stupid body is as easily satisfied as a spaniel. And, incredibly, the simple spaniel can lure the brawling mind to its dish. It is everlastingly funny that the proud, metaphysically ambitious, clamoring mind will hush if you give it an egg.

~ Annie Dillard, Total Eclipse. Teaching a Stone to Talk


Image: Photobucket


SMWI*: It’s been a long week! (Of Feeding)

pandy-funny-cute


Notes:

Come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?

earth

I so was fascinated by this opinion piece in yesterday’s paper that I have shared all but a few sentences from the article by Eric Metaxas, Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God:

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.

Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 21 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon…As of 2014, researches have discovered precisely bubkis—0 followed by nothing.

What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed….Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.
[Read more…]

Running. On Christmas Day.

lights-highway-christmas-holiday

5:30am. Christmas Day. 2014.

A Charcoal black morning with low hanging fog.  52° F and drizzling. Christmas Day or Halloween?

A graceful leaning pushes me out the door early. I haven’t run outside in over a month. Divinity? Metaphysics? Hang-belly?

Traffic in the distance is muffled by a rain-soaked I-95. Where is everyone going?

You are strangely at Peace running in the Dark. With the Rocks. With the Potholes. Don’t you see it forces you to slow down? To pay attention with each step? In Daylight, You Rush. You don’t See. You don’t Feel.

A quasi-country tune by Five Way Friday pops up. Who is Five Way Friday? How did they get on my playlist?  Coincidence? Divinity? Metaphysics? Synchronicity?

A chill in the air…Outrunning the weather one more day…I cherish the feeling of my downtime…A moment to laugh my tears away…I like the rain but only sometimes…Living my life just a little too crazy…Could be wrong, but I don’t know…Taking the wonder out of maybe…Smelling the flowers as I go…

[Read more…]

No doubt. I’m an addict.

gingerbread,cookie

Sugar Season. It’s Everywhere, and Addictive by James DiNicolantonio & Sean Lucan:

  • Sugar is everywhere. It is celebration, it is festivity, it is love.
  • It’s also dangerous. In a recent study, we showed that sugar, perhaps more than salt, contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease. Evidence is growing, too, that eating too much sugar can lead to fatty liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and kidney disease.
  • Yet people can’t resist. And the reason for that is pretty simple. Sugar is addictive. And we don’t mean addictive in that way that people talk about delicious foods. We mean addictive, literally, in the same way as drugs.
  • Up until just a few hundred years ago, concentrated sugars were essentially absent from the human diet — besides, perhaps, the fortuitous find of small quantities of wild honey.
  • Today added sugar is everywhere, used in approximately 75 percent of packaged foods purchased in the United States. The average American consumes anywhere from a quarter to a half pound of sugar a day. If you consider that the added sugar in a single can of soda might be more than most people would have consumed in an entire year, just a few hundred years ago, you get a sense of how dramatically our environment has changed. The sweet craving that once offered a survival advantage now works against us.
  • Whereas natural sugar sources like whole fruits and vegetables are generally not very concentrated because the sweetness is buffered by water, fiber and other constituents, modern industrial sugar sources are unnaturally potent and quickly provide a big hit.
  • Substance use disorders…exist when at least two to three symptoms from a list of 11 are present…sugar produces at least three symptoms consistent with substance abuse and dependence: cravings, tolerance and withdrawal. Other druglike properties of sugar include (but are not limited to) cross-sensitization, cross-tolerance, cross-dependence, reward, opioid effects and other neurochemical changes in the brain.
  • In animal studies, animals experience sugar like a drug and can become sugar-addicted. One study has shown that if given the choice, rats will choose sugar over cocaine in lab settings because the reward is greater; the “high” is more pleasurable.

Read full op-ed NY Times article here: Sugar Season. It’s Everywhere, and Addictive


Notes: The recipe for the caramel stuffed soft gingerbread cookies in the photograph can be found here: Fabtasticeats.com.

Each hour’s a gift to those who take it up.

lights-christmas-dreamy

A pane of glass is a kind of compression of distance, enabling us to get up close to what we want but not permitting us to take it into our hands. We want it all, this life before us: the miniature Christmas village lit by a steady joy; the doll that in our arms would never grow old; the tiny train that, tooting, speeds away and always returns. Yet our lives are not beyond this breath there on the chilly glass, but of that breath, and in this life the hands in our mittens are never really empty. It is all around us, free, this wonderful life: clear jingle of tire chains, the laughter of ice that breaks under our boots. Each hour’s a gift to those who take it up.

~ Ted Kooser, “December.The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Forty weeks later we howl. Then the world starts in on us.

lights-blue-photography

We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as a microscopic electrical swarm. The lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us.

― Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See


Credits: Photograph:on montague via Katy Elliot. Quote Source: Precious Things

 

 

Christmas Day, 1914, when guns fell silent.


This is Sainsbury’s Christmas ad.

Presenting the new Sainsbury’s Christmas advert. Made in partnership with The Royal British Legion. Inspired by real events from 100 years ago. This year’s Christmas ad from Sainsbury’s – Christmas is for sharing. Made in partnership with The Royal British Legion, it commemorates the extraordinary events of Christmas Day, 1914, when the guns fell silent and two armies met in no-man’s land, sharing gifts – and even playing football together. The chocolate bar featured in the ad is on sale now at Sainsbury’s. All profits (50p per bar) will go to The Royal British Legion and will benefit our armed forces and their families, past and present.

The Youtube video that explains the making of the video is worth a look. Sainsbury’s Christmas 2014 – The Making of Our Christmas Ad


Island Xmas


The music starts at 0:54 sec of this video.

Christine Anu, 44, is an Australian pop singer and actress. Anu is arguably Australia’s most successful indigenous performer and one of Australia’s most popular recording artiste, backed by an award-winning repertoire spanning across music, theatre, dance, film, television and children’s entertainment. Her illustrious career over two decades boasts of platinum albums, sell-out musicals, Hollywood blockbusters, and high-profiled collaborations with showbiz and musical luminaries such as Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge), Paul Kelly and David Atkins.

Find this tune and her new 2014 Christmas Album: Island Christmas


Stillness Arises


Wonderful. Watch. Wow!

I just want to rise so high that no one can reach me and nothing to prove. I just want to get where you just awaken your body and soul to something. Stillness arises within me. Nature brought me to stillness.

Find full transcript full below. [Read more…]

Pangs of searching & groping, the tortures of spiritual crises and exhausting treks of the soul – purify

Brendan-Gleeson-calvary

Was it a coincidence two days before Christmas? Maybe. Maybe not. In an excellent op-ed essay by David Brooks in yesterday’s morning paper and in “Calvary,” yesterday’s evening movie, the themes were conjoined. Doubt and Faith. I share some excerpts on both below.

David Brooks, NY Times, The Subtle Sensations of Faith:

With Hanukkah coming to an end, Christmas days away, and people taking time off work, we are in a season of quickened faith. When you watch people exercise that faith, whether lighting candles or attending Midnight Mass, the first thing you see is how surprising it is. You’d think faith would be a simple holding of belief, or a confidence in things unseen, but, in real life, faith is unpredictable and ever-changing…

Marx thought that religion was the opiate of the masses, but Soloveitchik argues that, on the contrary, this business of living out a faith is complex and arduous: “The pangs of searching and groping, the tortures of spiritual crises and exhausting treks of the soul purify and sanctify man, cleanse his thoughts, and purge them of the husks of superficiality and the dross of vulgarity. Out of these torments there emerges a new understanding of the world, a powerful spiritual enthusiasm that shakes the very foundations of man’s existence.”

Insecure believers sometimes cling to a rigid and simplistic faith. But confident believers are willing to face their dry spells, doubts, and evolution. Faith as practiced by such people is change. It is restless, growing. It’s not right and wrong that changes, but their spiritual state and their daily practice. As the longings grow richer, life does, too. As Wiman notes, “To be truly alive is to feel one’s ultimate existence within one’s daily existence.”

Xan Brooks, The Guardian, Calvary review – ‘a terrific black comedy that touches greatness‘: [Read more…]

Help, Thanks, Wow Rebecca!

arctic-tern

I’ve just finished the  first of Rebecca Sonlit’s new collection of 29 essays titled The Encyclopedia of Trouble and SpaciousnessMimi uses the word “transported.” I was this. And what came to mind after finishing the first essay was Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

  • HELP! Help God, help me write this well*. (I’ll need 3000 prayers and still not sure He would have the requisite raw material to shape this putty.)
  • THANKS! Thank you Rebecca for this sharing this wondrous talent.
  • WOW! As I sit here reading and re-reading passages. Wow!

Here’s a few excerpts from her expedition to the Arctic Circle titled Cyclopedia of an Arctic Expedition. [Read more…]

The Holiday Cocktail Party

christmas-tree-lights-black-and-white

The holiday cocktail party begins at the door, where the trill of the doorbell flees from the vestibule and disappears into the crowd, leaving a vacuum of sound into which the small talk surges, foamy with greetings, a sea of hellos and how-are -you-doings that you can scarcely keep your head above, gulping for air as you paddle your way through the handshakes, showing your teeth. But ahead you can see, there in the kitchen, the raft of drinks, a-tinkle with glasses, and you grasp at its edge and with the others bark like a seal as the slow tide lifts you toward midnight, when with the deepest gratitude you know that somewhere upstairs your coat has just bobbed to the top of the pile on a bed and is drying its wings and waiting to lift you away.

~ Ted Kooser, December. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Credits: Photograph – M. Klasan via Preciously Me 

Most of it.

feel-touch-hurt-happy-sad


Source: Neverlaandss

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Let’s Go!


Thank you Lori.

Anemoia: So clear and still you can see your own reflection.


anemoia – n. nostalgia for a time you’ve never known

Imagine stepping through the frame into a sepia-tinted haze, where you could sit on the side of the road and watch the locals passing by. Who lived and died before any of us arrived here, who sleep in some of the same houses we do, who look up at the same moon, who breathe the same air, feel the same blood in their veins—and live in a completely different world.

Don’t miss full transcript below…
[Read more…]